President Joe Biden’s administration has so far denied journalists access to the southern border amid the surge of undocumented immigrants. This raises eyebrows because of how blatant the administration’s lack of transparency has been since Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released 2021 data on the growing surge of undocumented immigrant encounters and apprehensions.
It is important to note that journalists are allowed limited access to White House hand-picked border facilities but not any of the facilities that are over capacity.
On Wednesday, a camera crew was able to take pictures and videos of the inside of a detention center with unaccompanied children in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Still, they weren’t able to interact with any of those being detained. Their interactions were limited to senators and White House senior staff that accompanied them.
BOLD TV reporters denied access in San Diego
Last week, while covering the surge of undocumented immigrants at the San Ysidro/San Diego border crossing, two BOLD TV reporters were told by Officer J. Bailey that they were not permitted to film, take photos or conduct interviews on public property. The reporters would need to get permission from the San Diego train station authorities who owned the platform and the surrounding areas.
Whether or not the Biden administration realizes it, how they handle transparency and media relationships clearly affects those on the ground.
No more than 10 minutes later, BOLD TV reporters contacted the San Diego authorities that Officer Bailey directed them to and received permission to stay as long as needed and an apology.
Biden administration’s response to the lack of transparency
Yesterday, Biden held his first press conference since taking office.
NBC reporter Kristen Welker asked Biden why we have not seen the border facilities in which children are packed together. She then followed up by saying that it was important to see the photos because it gives the American people a chance to see that. She also questioned if Biden will commit to transparency on the issue.
“I will commit to transparency as soon as I am in a position to be able to implement what we’re doing right now,” said Biden.
As expected, Twitter and the Republican Party has had a field day with these press briefing comments.
Prior to the press briefing, DHS also expressed they are also dealing with overcrowded facilities. Their primary focus on helping the children’s needs, not trying to please journalists.
The rush of undocumented immigrants is the highest it has been in 20 years – and is expected to grow – putting Biden under serious pressure by both Democrats and Republicans.
However, on Wednesday, Biden tapped Vice President Kamala Harris to oversee efforts on the southern border. By tapping the vice president, he signaled that this is a top priority for the White House, and she speaks for him each time she addresses the nation on the issue.
“I can think of nobody who is better qualified to do this than Harris,” said Biden.
What is the solution?
The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, has been trying to piece together details on how the media and journalists would go down to the border while following COVID-19 guidelines.
Just last week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, stated that privacy and COVID-19 restrictions were the reasons why the media was denied access to tour the southern border and attend a press briefing afterward.
Typically speaking, the press pool would have some access and be given a press briefing opportunity. Instead, Mayorkas led a bipartisan delegation with senators at an El Paso, Texas facility for undocumented immigrants with no media attendance.